Where Were You?

When Kennedy was assassinated, I was sitting in the auditorium of the high school in Westfield, New Jersey, watching a play with a bunch of other elementary school kids. I don’t remember the play, but I remember the teacher coming out, white faced and shaking, to tell us that the president had been shot and we were being sent home. I was eight.

When the planes hit the towers on 9/11, I was in the gym in Boston, watching “Top Gun” on a big screen next to a screen showing news. I thought my movie was an Air Force scramble to respond to the destruction and terror on the other screen, as bodies fell from the sky and smoke billowed and the towers finally crumbled. I later learned that someone I knew slightly was on one of the planes that hit the towers. It was a searing image, a searing day. I never thought I would see its like again in my lifetime.

When the Capitol riot happened on January 6th, I was home watching cable news, waiting to see what the senators would say to challenge a fair and just election. Suddenly people swarmed around Mike Pence and wisked him away, and crowds started to scramble. All the news broadcasters were talking over each other – and then we saw shots of outside the Senate chamber. OMG. It was a dangerous, terrifying afternoon with armed thugs scaling walls, pipe bombs and tear gas, assaults of police, chants of “Hang Mike Pence” and “Trump is My President” and Confederate battle flags – and members of Congress and their staff scrambling to get to safety amid broken glass and angry, focused rioters.

They were unmasked white faces. I mean, how stupid can you get? Of course they were white – they were revved up Trump supporters who believed the falsehoods that Trump has been spreading for over a YEAR that the only way he could lose was in a rigged election. And of course they were unmasked, because wearing a mask is something that Democrats do because they don’t believe in individual liberty and the right to spread Covid as broadly as possible.

I knew what was coming would be bad but hadn’t expected this. The Capitol is a symbol of our democracy, of our form of government, and it was overrun by people with evil intent – who looked like me. If the rioters had been Black, they would have been shot. Instead, they took over the place and went peacefully home, only to be tracked down by digital detectives because, hello, they were unmasked and took selfies as they rampaged. Granted, not everyone at the Trump rally before the riot followed the crowd to the Capitol. But enough of them did that all of them are tarnished.

I am proud that the Congress went back into session and stayed late into the night to finish their work of confirming Joe Biden’s win in the Electoral College. I am angry with all of the senators and representatives who took it upon themselves to challenge elections in other states even after almost 90 court cases and recounts found no fraud. My Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Louie Gohmert need to resign or be expelled for their positions which helped convince people that the crazy fraud theory was true when it patently was not.

And I am very afraid of what is coming next. The inauguration is in 8 days and in the meantime, credible sources tell authorities that armed insurrections are planned for all 50 state capitals this weekend. I will be sticking even closer to home than usual, and sending up more than the usual prayers.